Fashion & Style: `Westwood sent out a typically outre set of models. The Sex Pistols designer can still produce a bit of streetwise madness'

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The Independent Culture
I'M NOT altogether sure about fashion-show reports. Whenever I read a review of a catwalk presentation I was at, I often wonder if we were watching the same show. Were those smart green trousers really "a blow against the conservative mediocrity of 21st-century penitence"? How stupid of me; I thought they were just a pair of smart green trousers.

And there always has to be a theme of some sort - Black, White, Sportswear, or the season of Pink Embroidered Lederhosen (always a favourite). So keen are the fashion press to rubber-stamp a season that they come up with the most pitiful generalisations: "It's a peacock revolution!", "Back to school!!", "Back to the office!!!", "Back to the future!!!!" - you name it, it's been done (often in the same season).

But then, you're never going to get two journalists to agree on anything (unless they happen to be reviewing the new Alexander Payne film Sideways). And frankly, where fashion shows are concerned, there's no substitute for actually being there and seeing the Pink Embroidered Lederhosen for yourself.

I went to Milan a few weeks ago for the men's autumn/winter 2005/06 collections, and the gist is this: loads of velvet, ankle boots, bags with briefcases seemingly Superglued to them, skinny suits everywhere (many still with the recently anointed one-button, peak lapel silhouette) and some seriously groovy collections from Armani, Miu Miu, Burberry Prorsum, Marni, Versace and Bottega Veneta (which, even though they only had a presentation instead of a catwalk show, was maybe the best of the bunch). You can see for yourself when they go in the shops from July.

However, my favourite item of clothing was produced by Vivienne Westwood, a designer I admire (hugely) but rarely wear any more (although I've still got several World's End tops from the early Eighties, which are kept under lock and key in my study). She sent a typically outre group of models down the catwalk, wearing suitably extravagant and contentious threads, proving yet again that even during a conservative season, when the grey suit was more in evidence than it has been for about three years, the ex-Sex Pistols designer can still produce a bit of streetwise madness.

There was the usual tartan, straps and headgear, although the thing that caught my eye was a belt buckle worn by a rather butch model - "Tool Hire", it said. Now that's funny.

Dylan Jones is the editor of `GQ'

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